Chapter Two

Teri got home and stared at her closet for half an hour, wondering exactly what she owned that could be considered black tie.  Long or short dress?  She almost Black Tuxedowished she had a tux with a black tie.  She owned very little formal wear on her entry-level salary.  A quick call to a socialite friend informed her only her black and white floor length gown would fit the dress code.  Teri groaned, remembering the slinky, one‑shouldered gown which draped so well and gave tantalizing glimpses of her long legs, sloping neck, and shoulders.  It had raised more than just the libido of her last date.  But then, so what?

Strangely enough, she found herself primping and perfuming quite assiduously. She would show the Secretary’s just how much of a woman and diplomat she was… silly school girl indeed!  Theresa Brown would give them 100 percent woman tonight.

The chauffeur who had greeted her the previous afternoon knocked on her apartment door at promptly 7:29 and escorted her to the waiting limo with its tinted glass.  Teri pulled the black rabbit fur jacket around her more tightly.  “Engage the Prince in conversation, ask his opinions of their negotiations here, listen to what he has to say,” she reminded herself of her assignment.  Shit, she knew little about Middle East matters, and barely knew where the country of Oman was.

Their eyes locked strangely when she got in the car.  Teri didn’t even take the time to think she’d never been in a limousine before.

“Miss Brown, you look lovely.” the Prince whispered throatily, his warm dark eyes glistening in the half-light, his sensuous, full mouth curved in his pleasant white‑toothed smile.  He said the words in a delightfully accented English, a touch of clipped Oxford blended with a melodic middle‑eastern intoning.  He liked the faint scent of roses she exuded.

“Thank you, Your Highness” she replied shyly, her bravado quickly fading, her mission forgotten.

“Please, in private, I insist you call me Hamir.”  She nodded.

“Call me Theresa,” she replied, confused at why she gave her Christian name rather than the customary and familiar “Teri.”

They rode on in agonizing silence for what seemed to be an eternity, perhaps only three minutes, and Teri did not even notice the round‑about route they took.  He finally broke the silence.

“Theresa, I hope that you are not too angry with me, for the way I arranged this meeting?  I guess by now you realize how very much I want to know you,” the Prince said.  “You disappeared so quickly at the reception, and I’ve not been able to get you off my mind.”

Oh, he hadn’t been able to get her off his mind… wow…

Teri looked at him timidly.  What could she say now?  She looked up at him through her eyelashes.  He was incredibly handsome, and she couldn’t now remember why she had felt so panicked about him in the first place.

“Well, I suppose I was angry at first, but‑‑” she hesitated “‑‑perhaps I am not so much now.”  She managed a weak, shy smile.

“I am glad,” he replied, his dark brown eyes serious, but unbearably beautiful, “then we may enjoy our evening and put our preliminary misunderstandings aside.”

Teri nodded assent.  But her head buzzed with dozens of questions, primarily, why?  Why did he want to know her?

Well that’s obvious, dummy, she said to herself. “Know” as in the biblical sense, no doubt.  Why did that thought make her squirm?

He opened the compartment in front of them and produced two fine crystal champagne glasses and a bottle of Dom Perignon, no doubt an excellent year.  He handed her the glasses, and although she wasn’t sure, she somehow knew they had to be Waterford.

“You like champagne?” he asked while deftly removing the wire cage and twisting the bottle expertly, uncorked it with a muted pop.

“Yes,” she murmured, as he poured the golden bubbles, replaced the bottle into a bucket of ice, and took one of the glasses from her.  Suddenly she giggled, in spite of herself.  He looked up at her with slightly surprised, but amused eyes.

“And why do you laugh in that sweet way?” he asked.  Teri shook her head, still laughing softly.

“Come now, Theresa, it is unfair not to let me know what amuses you.  Is it me?  Do I perhaps have a mark on my face?”

“No, no.  You probably won’t understand, but I am struck by the thought of a television commercial selling cars with very smooth rides,” she giggled again “you don’t cut diamonds, do you?”  He looked at her with confusion.

“Diamonds?”  he asked.  She sighed, wishing she hadn’t brought it up, knowing full well how jokes like these went over like a bomb when it just didn’t translate.  And explaining made it even worse, but she explained anyway.

He laughed softly, “I am afraid I have not watched much American television.”

“Of course you haven’t.  It was silly of me.”

“No, it was sweet.  It was you,” he said, and that said it all.  He joked with her that she must not reveal that he, a “devout Muslim” was indulging in alcohol, but he only reserved his indiscretions for the very best, and only for special occasions, he explained smilingly.  They conversed pleasantly for more than 30 minutes, although it had only seemed like a few minutes.  Teri found herself cheerfully and openly answering questions about herself, her childhood, pastimes and interests.  She learned a bit about Hamir’s education at the RoyalMilitaryAcademy at Sandhurst, and his pastimes.  But nothing to report in a debriefing.  The few times she tried to focus the conversation to his official visit, he adeptly turned the questions back to her.

Just as Teri began to feel a little bit more at ease with the dark, handsome stranger, the car turned off of Massachusetts Avenue and climbed the hill to the entrance of one of Washington’s finest hotels.  As the door opened she nearly froze, seeing the bejeweled and furred women, limos and dapper men.

She nervously tensed and drew herself up, raising her chin a bit in the defensive reaction of one feeling a little out of place.  Hell, I don’t belong here, she thought to herself in a panic.  As if sensing this, the Prince squeezed her arm gently and whispered, “Just be your sweet, charming, self, Theresa, no one will resist that.  Keep hold of my arm,” he whispered supportively.

As they moved towards the lobby doors, she felt like a celebrity, with people clamoring around them and flashes going off in their faces.

“Your Highness, are you enjoying your stay in Washington?” a reporter shouted.  The Prince smiled winningly and replied “quite,” as he held more tightly to Theresa’s arm.  She could hear the whispers.

“Who is she?”

“I’ve never seen her before…”

“She seems American.”

“Probably some Congressman’s daughter…”

Hamir greeted a few guests as they entered the well-lit lobby, but never left her side as he helped her off with her coat, which was dutifully taken by one of his entourage who immediately appeared at his side once they exited the limousine.  His eyes assessed her quickly, and noticed with deep satisfaction a shapely and graceful figure, which had been hard to detect in a business suit at the White House.  And, instead of being severely pulled back as the other day, he liked how her shiny golden hair spilled freely over her alabaster shoulders and framed her lovely face in long waves.  He was further gratified by the appreciative and longing glances she was drawing from the other men, and he was surprised to find himself even a little uneasy at this as well.

Once inside the hotel’s large ballroom, the crowd seemed a little more subdued, as Hamir went to take his place in the receiving line, next to his swarthy, turbaned father.  Teri stood uncomfortably as she received the appraising glance of the older man, and for the first time since she left her humble apartment, was beginning to have reservations.  Didn’t these men have the idea of sharing women? She cursed herself silently for being so silly.

“Should I sit down Hamir?” she whispered.  He glanced at her with concern.

“Are you feeling unwell?”

“Oh, no‑‑I just ‑‑didn’t know,” she stammered uncomfortably.

“Oh, my dear Theresa!  You will help me greet my guests, will you not?”

“Yes, if that is what you want.” He smiled happily at her submissive response, and nodded his head as the first guest started down the line. Theresa was relieved to be standing on Hamir’s right side, away from his father.

One of the first guests through the line was the Secretary of State, who did a double take upon seeing her.  This was not the silly young girl he hassled with in his office earlier today.  Theresa was happy Hamir did not acknowledge the Secretary’s role in arranging for her attendance tonight, and merely introduced her as his very good friend, Theresa Brown.

After more than a half an hour of hand clasps, Theresa knew how politicians must feel.  She rubbed her right hand, and Hamir noticed.

“My dear, must you shake hands so firmly? You will hurt your lovely hand,” he looked at the large University ring on her finger, “And such a large ring doesn’t do justice to your delicate hand.  You must extend it lightly to be taken like a fine crystal.” Theresa gazed at him defiantly.

“I will not give anyone a dead fish hand shake!”

Hamir’s mouth twitched, threatening laughter, but he just said, “Ah!  American women!  You will never be satisfied until you prove you are as good as the men!”  Theresa smiled at this, but nodded her head sharply.

“And as for the ring, I’ve had this since graduation, and have never taken it off.  I’m proud of it.”

“I imagine you are, but perhaps we might replace it with one a little more becoming of your loveliness,” he said simply, leaving her speechless.

Indeed, as hors d’oeuvres were being passed, he quietly pulled her from the reception to a small jewelry shop in the hotel’s lobby.  He scanned the case of rings, and asked what her preference was.

“Hamir,” she laughed incredulously, “I can’t let you do this!  Plus, I cannot accept gifts from ‘foreign dignitaries’.”

“Nonsense, I wish to give you a present and I shall.  You have taken your evening to escort me, it’s the least I can do.  What do you choose?”  he picked up a sapphire and held it next to her eyes “Sapphire like your eyes?” suddenly he frowned, “but now they are green?” he looked down and picked up an emerald, but then shook his head, noting the color didn’t match her eyes.  Suddenly he saw an unusual princess band with rubies, sapphires and emeralds set in platinum.  “Yes, this is the one,” he stated, as he pulled her class ring off and slid the new one on.  It fit perfectly.  “Each stone can be found in your eyes: the ruby is the fire you showed to my father when you had only just met him,” he said, almost with a tone of admiration.

She looked down at the sparkling band, glimmering with the jewels.  It was simple, understated, but gorgeous.  What the heck?  This was surreal.   “Oh, Hamir, this is lovely, but I really can’t.”  She began to pull it from her finger, but it suddenly would not budge back over the knuckle it so easily slide past a second ago.

“Must I speak to the Secretary about this?” his voice became stern, and suddenly their eyes met at his tone.  His eyes glinted dangerously.  She had bristled at first, but then found herself giving her best diplomatic smile.  The damn thing was stuck on her finger, and she didn’t want to make any more of a fuss in public.  His voice and his glare were kind of scary too, scary in a sort of hot way.  She could debate this later; there couldn’t be any fracas now.

“No, Hamir.  It is lovely.  Thank you so much.” She impulsively reached up and kissed him lightly on the side of his mouth, wanting to appease him and make the scary frown leave his eyes.  She flushed immediately.  Oh how silly of her!  Why had she kissed him?

His eyes shifted with fleeting surprise as he looked down at her longingly.  “Ah, and the steely platinum of this band just now showed in your eyes as well.”  He turned away abruptly to the man who had shadowed him into the store. “Youseff, please settle the bill, and I would like earrings made to match,” he said, as he led her from the shop. She heard the clerk begin to protest as his most expensive ring left the shop, but was quieted when Youseff pulled a wad of highly denominated bills from his pocket.

“Oh, we forgot my other ring,” she began.

“Don’t worry, I have it here,” he patted his tux pocket.

After dinner, Hamir pulled her quickly to the dance floor, and kept her there until her feet ached, but she didn’t mind.  He was a marvelous dancer; she enjoyed being led by his strong arms, and with each dance found herself pressed closer to him.  They chatted easily about everything it seemed, and she had a sense of knowing him quite well in a short time.  He felt drunk with her scent of roses in his nostrils, which he ever after would associate with her.  When the music stopped, Hamir brushed Teri’s cheek with his fine long fingers, and smiled down at her adoringly.   Teri looked at him with confused and nearly besotted eyes, when he suddenly excused himself to speak to his father.  Theresa watched curiously, and although she could detect nothing from their faces, she felt something wasn’t right.  His father glanced more than once at her, expressionless reptilian looks, and Hamir finally bowed sharply and returned to her side.

“What is wrong, Hamir?”  she asked, glancing towards his father.

“Nothing,” he replied, but then turned to look at her in surprise.  “You really are a sharp woman, aren’t you?”  he said.  “Most would never suspect something, at least Americans do not read our ways,” he replied, gazing at her eyes in admiration.  “Father has admonished me for not being a good host.  It seems that many people wish to speak with me, and there are several prominent ladies hoping to be asked to dance by a ‘real prince’,” he said scornfully.

“Oh, I’m sorry, Hamir, I’ve kept you from your duties,” she replied.

“No! No! Do not think that,” he seemed ready to say something else, perhaps more personal.  “It is I who should apologize.  I wanted very much to be with you, to know you better, but this was not the best place, I can see that now,” he said.  “But you wouldn’t take my calls…” he looked at her with stern eyes again.  She fidgeted slightly, almost enjoying his challenging glare.

“Please do not worry about me Hamir, I really understand.  Go ahead,” she looked at him, and knew there was more.

“What is it?” she prompted him.  He shifted uncomfortably.

“My father also commented on my unsociable behavior, not having offered him a dance with you,” he said quietly, glancing her way.  She tensed at this, but realized it was true.  Neither she nor Hamir had danced, or even really socialized with anyone else that evening.

“You do not care for my father, do you Theresa?” he asked bluntly.  Theresa fidgeted, then looked at him guiltily.

“Hamir, it is not that.  It is just‑‑I‑‑I suppose I am a little afraid of him‑‑ as I was with you‑‑before.” His eyes opened larger, and an incredulous smile crept across his face as he breathed in sharply.

“You?  Afraid of me?  Ah, that we must discuss later!”  He paused seriously, “But you are wise to fear my father.  It would not be good if you didn’t,” he sighed when he saw the confusion in her face.

“Theresa, we are worlds apart in so many ways.  I do understand how you feel, though, as I am such a mixture‑‑being educated in Europe, yet raised in the Middle East.  I do hope you will give me the opportunity to explain it all to you later.”

“I count on it, Hamir,” she replied sweetly, yet was a bit surprised to hear herself saying that.  “Now, let me dance with your father, and you play host for a while.  I don’t know how to do this though.  Do I ask him?”  She figured this could only result in more information for the “debriefing,” especially since so far she had little to impart from her time with Hamir.  Hamir took her hand smilingly and with admiration.

“Alright, but only for a short time!”  He led her to the Sultan, bowed and placed her hand in his father’s.  The Sultan kissed her hand gallantly, and led her to the floor, immediately pressing her too close.  Hamir gazed on in distraction, sensing the tenseness of her body, the threatening power of his father’s, but he was then pulled away by eager guests.  He smiled distractedly, his gaze constantly darting to the dance floor.  He felt silly, this being the first time he’d ever felt so uneasy about a woman.  But it was different.  She was different, she was American, and he wasn’t quite sure his father realized the distinction.

From the other side of the room, the Secretary of State smiled broadly to see her dancing with the Sultan.  He had not given this girl—or rather woman–enough credit!  He realized the old Sultan seldom spoke in English, a language he understood well, but spoke with difficulty.  The Secretary cursed himself for not informing her of this, coaching her on how to ask leading questions that would require only yes or no answers.  But then again, he never imagined she’d ever get so close to the Sultan.

Theresa tried hard to be kind and sweet, and converse lightly with the Sultan, yet all he did was smile cryptically in his serpent‑like way.  Being almost a head taller than the Sultan, she didn’t like the feel of his hot breath on her neck, his gaze falling level on her breasts.  She was very uncomfortable with how closely and firmly he held her body pressed to his, and wanted to be away from him.  Just as the third dance was drawing to an end, his fingers caressed the fine hairs at the nape of her neck ever so softly, then slipped down her spine with a light pressure on her vertebrae.  Theresa was pulled closer to his chest, and with horror realized her nipples were straining hard and erect through the light material of the gown.  His one hand obscurely but firmly squeezed her silhouetted breast, as the other grasped her buttocks, pushing her into his aroused pelvis.  He breathed heavily, “Beautiful woman…”  She pulled away, not knowing what to do.  The Sultan gazed down at her chest and smiled lewdly, while caressing her bare arm, which was covered with gooseflesh.  When his eyes returned upwards to hers, he arched his eyebrows lecherously, and ran his tongue obscenely along his repulsive mouth.

She stepped back from his reach in horror and disgust.  It took all she possessed not to slap him, run from him, out of the room, or to Hamir‑‑anywhere away from him.  She felt like every eye in the room had just witnessed this vulgar scene, and was mortified.

Hamir had noticed her frantic expression, yet was pulled away by yet another Washington official, and could not ask her about what happened.

As she made her way towards the ladies room, her heart racing in alarm, the Secretary of State caught her arm.

“Brava, Miss Brown!  I hope you were able to converse a bit with the Sultan?  I neglected to tell you, he is timid about his English, so you might wish to phrase questions in such a way that he might answer ‘Yes’ or ‘No.’  The next time you dance with him, you might ask…”  Theresa looked at him with horror in her eyes, and then incredulity.  To what extent did they expect her to “engage” these men?

“Please excuse me,” she interrupted him abruptly, and walked to the ladies’ room.  It took her several minutes to catch her breath, hold back the tears of anger, check her nausea, and regain some composure, before she could leave the sanctuary of the ladies’ room.  She had felt violated, as if he had raped her right out in the open before everyone.  She spent the rest of the evening lurking in corners, out of sight, considering whether to just take a cab home and end this strange evening.  But soon, Hamir came to find her, and escorted her gently to the limo, with genuine concern in his beautiful eyes.  She almost felt safe once he was again by her side, although this made no sense.  The danger of Hamir was no doubt just as real as what she experienced with his father.

When they were being driven away in the limo, he could finally ask her.

“What happened, Theresa?”

“Nothing,” she stated, embarrassed he had seen her make such a big deal about it.  It made her look like a silly virgin, and how could she tell him his dirty old man groped her?  “I didn’t feel so well after dancing with your father.  A slight draft must have hit me‑‑that’s all.  I‑‑I think perhaps my dress wasn’t right for this,” she babbled.

“But it was perfect!  You were beautiful!” he countered with a confused look at her ramblings.

“Perhaps‑‑ah‑‑a little too revealing?” she said, looking down at the front, “And maybe I was too cold‑‑”

Hamir knew then, and closed his eyes a moment, shaking his head.

“Please, let me explain.  Could you take your coat off please?”  She looked at him with confusion, yet complied.  She slipped her arms from the jacket as his eyes fixed on hers in a way that tweaked at something carnal within her.  He pulled her closer, with no objection from her.  “Now, my father held you so when you danced, no?”  he asked, demonstrating a respectable distance, his one hand on her upper back.

“Well, much closer,” she whispered, more confused than ever because she rather liked this, his fingers brushed the small hairs at her hairline in a very pleasant way.  Suddenly, he expertly moved his fingers from the nape of her neck down her spine the way his father had, pressing on those same vertebrae.  She immediately felt her skin grow taught and her nipples harden.

Her eyes flashed in realization and anger and–desire.  Hamir also could not refrain from gazing at the beautiful silhouette created on the clingy dress by small, firm breasts and taut nipples.

“Voila,” he whispered, releasing her and tearing his gaze away.  He looked out the window on his side.  “Just a little ‘Omani’ trick, one my father should not have used on you,” he said quietly, with a note of anger in his voice.  “I apologize for his inappropriate behavior…”

He turned suddenly as she slid closer to him, and pulled his arm around her shoulders and pressed to him.  He now felt the erect nipples searing into his chest through his thin tux shirt.  He glanced at her amused face with surprise.

“This is about how closely he held me… And would the same thing happen if I did it to you?” she joked in a sultry voice as her fingers brushed the hair at the nape of his neck.  Hamir laughed throatily and pulled her even closer.

“You really are precious, Theresa.”  She gazed into his warm, inviting eyes, and soon felt his firm sweet mouth pressed to hers.  She let her lips part under the pressure of his insistent tongue, and could do little more than melt into his arms.  When the kiss ended, she was swirling.  The thoughts that had been far from her mind this morning, which then flew through fleetingly that night, suddenly became an irresistible desire, a needy stirring inside her that had to be satisfied now.  Like a moth to a flame, she knew she wanted him, this moment, tonight.  Her befuddled mind would not even allow her a second thought, a lucid consideration of the danger and the consequences.

He sensed this too, even though his intentions had not been to go this far with her, so quickly.  He had not wanted it to proceed to these intimate stages this night.  He had wanted to tease her a bit, make her pant a little, then to be senseless with desire for him.  The ring had even been too much already, but he couldn’t control himself.  It had pleased him to buy it for her.  He cleared his throat and pulled back from her.

“Where is the nearest club?” he asked.  Theresa was visibly disappointed, wondering if she had read this all wrong, and spoke reluctantly.

“The Four Seasons’ Desirée, but you’ll be inundated by people, they’ll know you.”

Desirée?” his eyebrows shot up a little.  “Desire?”  he breathed the translation of the French.  “Not to worry,” his eyes smoldering now.  She merely tried to bury her burning, aching desire for him, as well as salvage her ego.

He opened the glass partition and spoke to the driver.

“Sami, to the Four Seasons.”

“Yes, Your Highness.”

As they got out amid other limos, the chauffeur asked if he should wait.

“No, you are dismissed for the night Sami.”

“Yes, Your Highness,” the chauffeur replied without hesitation.  Hamir pulled Theresa towards the entrance, then into the shadows as he watched people enter the Hotel.

Hamir looked into Teri’s eyes again, and read the desire, even stronger before, despite her efforts to extinguish it.  He tightened his grip on her arm, walked to the curb, and hailed a cab.

Oh, they weren’t going to Desirée after all?  But where? Oh, he was so confusing, and so damned sexy!

He rattled off her address to the driver as they sunk back into the seat together.  He glanced behind them, and smiled victoriously.  Her eyes were confused now, but the confusion was exciting to her.  She questioned none of this, she wanted to just live the moment, not analyze it.  She wanted to be surprised, shocked, she didn’t want to over think this thing.  She only wanted to respond to the sensations she was feeling inside her, which this man had ignited.  It felt good to just sink into a man’s arms, submit, and let him take over completely.

Hamir was now confident they had lost their tags, who he saw enter the Four Seasons before he hailed the cab.  He could now enjoy her.

When they walked into her apartment, the urgency of their desire was too strong to bear.  She stood before him as she closed the door behind them, nervously handling her keys.

“Umm, do you want a drink?” she asked shyly now, almost afraid to meet his eyes.

“No, I don’t think so, Theresa…”

“Oh,” she glanced up now and almost felt burned by his smoldering look.

“I want you…” he breathed, as he scooped her up into his arms, and walked to the bedroom, kissing her deeply as he walked.  He set her down in front of him next to the bed, and looked intently at her, as he began to loosen his cufflinks.  Teri shamelessly reached up to unbutton the one shoulder of her gown and let it slide down and pool at her ankles.  His eyes grew wide and hungry as he saw her stand before him, naked save for her lacy panties and high heel shoes.

“You are gorgeous,” he whispered throatily, and she smiled as he deftly and quickly pulled off the other trappings of formal wear: cummerbund, tuxedo shirt studs, impeccably knotted bow‑tie, pants, socks.

He approached her in his shorts and leaned down, touching only his mouth to hers, starting with a slow, teasing kiss that brushed her lips with his beautiful, full ones, his tongue searching in her mouth, his teeth lightly biting her lip.  She moaned and returned the kiss with equal ardor, wanting more contact with his hands, his body.

He teased her mouth as long as he could, and then held her hands as he worked down her beautiful alabaster skin with passionate, nibbling kisses, taking her nipples into his mouth and fingers and backing her to the bed as she writhed with pleasure.  He couldn’t wait, he had to have her.

“Hamir‑‑my shoes,” she gasped between fervent kisses.

He ignored her protest as he quickly threw her on the lacy white quilt.  His hand slipped through the hip of her dainty panties and tore them off of her, his fingers diving between her legs.

“Ah, you are so ready for me…” he said huskily.

Teri gazed up at him wide eyed and panting.  This forcefulness, this power… She was excited and intrigued by this aggressiveness.  He pulled his shorts off quickly and she felt his hot, hard erection pressed to her.  She gasped at the size of him.  Before she could comment she was afraid she may not be able to take it, he lifted her hips and thrust himself into her fully.  The pain crashed through her trembling body, and the tears ran down her face as she whimpered at the incredible pressure of his size.

“Relax, my sweet,” he ordered in a whisper, “you act like it is the first time!”  She tried to smile, and soon his slow, teasing motions opened up the nerve endings that made her lift her hips to him, inviting him to meet her rhythm faster and faster until she found herself lost in the incredible pleasure of the unbearable pain.  She tightened her muscles as she exploded in a frenzied, shattering climax, to have him immediately follow in his own trembling climax.  She grasped at him and pulled her arms around his neck and felt his hot breath on her.

When she opened her eyes and looked at him, she blanched at his fierce glare.

“Hamir?”  she whispered in confusion at his look, finding herself a little frightened by it.  What was it?

“What did you do?” he demanded.  She looked at him with fear and awe.  No man had made her climax like that, so quickly, and especially after it had hurt so much at first.

“What do you mean?”  she said, still feeling the tingling of her own delicious climax.

“I never peak that quickly.  What did you do?”  he asked almost accusingly. She looked at him in surprise.

“Well, mainly, I enjoyed you, and I came!” she replied laughingly, trying to caress his face, erase the strange look in his eyes.  Sure, it had been fast, but it had been good!  What was with him?

His face was still perturbed.  She winced as he suddenly pulled out of her.  He rolled off of her and sat on the edge of the bed, silent.  He reached to his tux jacket and pulled out his gold cigarette case and lit one.  She hadn’t yet seen him smoke, and it surprised her.

“Hamir, what is wrong?  It was wonderful!” He wouldn’t answer her.  “Can you just believe the mere excitement caused you to release?  With me?”  He still remained silent.  She was growing irate, having this unpleasant, unnecessary aftermath to an enjoyable evening.  She tried to see his face in the dull glow of the cigarette as he drew on it.  She rubbed his back tenderly, but he stiffened and pulled away.

After she watched the clock move five full minutes without a word from him, only his foreboding back, she could cajole no longer.

“Damn it, Hamir, stop this idiotic behavior!” she said, swiping his shoulder in frustration with her palm and flopping back on the bed.

This turned him around quickly, his face in a state of near shock.  No woman had ever left his embrace without being on the verge of fainting from ecstasy‑‑but striking him?  Despite the light blow from her small hand, he couldn’t believe it, and reacted without thinking.  He dropped his cigarette into the water glass on the bedside table.

He jerked her around his waist, placing her over his lap, and laid several forceful smacks on her full buttocks.bth_spanking[7]

Theresa was too surprised at first to react.  She couldn’t sort out her feelings in that split second when he struck her—spanked her!  A dozen emotions mingled within her, each fighting the other for release‑‑anger, fear, desire, arousal, anticipation, the sensation she should loudly object to this treatment.  But most surprising of all, she was strangely stimulated.

Before any coherent reaction could formulate in her head, he turned her back to the bed, up to her knees by the hips, and to her shocked surprise, entered her even more forcefully than before from behind.  He made love to her for twenty minutes, in every position possible, in ways she had never experienced before.  He was an incredible lover, and she felt sensations and peaks she never knew existed.  It was frightening and exhilarating all at once, and she didn’t want him to stop.  Finally, she lay nearly limp under him, too exhausted to even feel him at that point.  She lost track of the ferocious climaxes after five.

“Please, no more… I–can’t!  I can’t take any more!” she gasped, feeling truly faint, her senses so overloaded, she felt she might cry.  She weakly felt herself being pulled up to yet another lofty peak, beyond any she’d ever known, when he exploded with wild contortions and groans, which only increased the incredible sensation for her.  She clung to him fiercely and screamed as tears squeezed out from her tightly shut eyes.

She had never been made love to like that in her life.

When they finally lay in each other’s arms, heaving to catch a breath and drenched with sweat, beneath the sheets, he gently asked her, “Now, my dear Theresa, what do you wish to do?”  She sighed reluctantly.

“Oh, Hamir, I want to‑‑to sleep,” she said weakly, too exhausted to worry who this man in her bed was.

“Good, that is how it should be,” he proclaimed righteously.

“Oh, dear God!”  Teri exclaimed, seeing the clock accusingly glare 9:06.  “I’m late!”  She threw the sheets aside and jumped from the bed, and ran into him in the doorway.  He grinned at her sleepy nakedness, and caught her in his arms.  She kissed him, but broke away frantically.

“I’m so late!”  She tried to pass him to get to the bathroom.

“Is that a nice way to say good morning to your guest?” he asked.  She smiled sheepishly.

“Oh, Hamir, I’m sorry, but‑‑” He scooped her up and laid her back on the bed, caressing her body and becoming quickly aroused.  “Hamir!  I can’t‑‑I‑‑” she protested.

“Shh, it is all arranged,” he said.

“Arranged?” she looked at him in confusion.

“Yes.  You are to spend the day with me.  It is arranged with your office,” he replied simply as he fondled her breasts and enjoyed the way the rosy nipples pouted on creamy white skin, the contrast of the burnished brown of his hands against them in the early morning sunlight that shone into her bedroom.

“But‑‑how?” she asked, frowning.

“I called my secretary, and he has seen to it that your duties today will be to escort me in your fair city,” he replied simply as his hands continued exploring her, enjoying the sight of fair golden hairs over her treasure.

Teri looked at him incredulously, almost angrily.  He regarded her seriously now.

“Theresa, did you agree of your own free will to accompany me yesterday evening?”

“Of course, Hamir.” He looked questioningly into to her eyes, and she looked down guiltily, “No, I didn’t want to at first.”

“And Mr. Secretary strongly requested you accept, no?”

“Yes,” she answered, trying to see his point.  He sighed, and pushed her silky blond tresses back from her furrowed forehead.

“A foreign diplomat requests, he receives.  I dare say if I had requested you in my bed you would have been there or jobless‑‑demoted at least.”

Teri understood and sat up on the bed, drawing her knees into her chest.  It angered her to be manipulated so, that he was right.

“So, if I hadn’t gone to bed with you last night, I wouldn’t have a job today?” she said sharply, unable to look at him.

“No, my dear, no.  I merely requested that you accompany me, and you did.  That was all that was asked of you.  You could have feigned a headache an hour after our arrival, and have been able to leave with no repercussions.  However, I do not believe anyone ‘ordered’ that longing look in you eyes last night.”

Teri smiled and shivered, thinking of last night, and let her knees drop and relax.  It had been exciting and crazy, and she couldn’t keep count of how many times he awoke her through the night to have her yet again, each time a new height for her.  And now his fingers were probing and stroking and invading her body in ways that felt very sore, but nice indeed. “So, I don’t have to go to work today?”  She asked coyly as several of his fingers slid into her and stroked a part of her she never realized felt so delicious, “Oh my gosh, what are you doing to me?” she gasped in delight.  He smiled and pretended not to notice her gasp, loving the way her body responded so readily.

“No, my dear, you do not have to go to work,” he replied.  “Unless being my companion is work?”

“Ah, How sweet!” she cooed, allowing her knees to fall and spread wide, arching her back with the pleasure she was feeling and sinking back into the pillows.  Hamir kissed and nibbled her breasts, her belly, and she trembled in excitement as his mouth and tongue neared the triangle between her thighs.  He suddenly stopped short when he saw her inner thighs and the sheet beneath them.  He sat up and glanced quickly at her eyes in shock, and once again she was lost.  What now?

“Theresa‑‑you‑‑you are‑‑were‑‑a virgin?”  he whispered, not being able to find his voice.  No wonder her tears the night before.

“No!  Of course not!” she replied, but then saw what he had seen, bright red blood on her thighs and the white sheet.  “But‑‑” she was also too shocked to speak.

“Oh, then it’s‑‑” he began knowingly, with a grimace.

“No!” she replied “It isn’t time for that!” she said, still wondering why.  She pulled the lace quilt up and saw spots of red.  That had been where he had first taken her, when it had hurt so much.

“Theresa, do not lie to me.  You were a virgin.  Why did you cry so when I first entered you?” he asked, gazing into her eyes, seeking the truth.  He hadn’t seen virginal eyes before, nor did he now.  And his fingers definitely didn’t feel engulfed by a virgin.

She thought for a moment.  “Hamir, it must have been your‑your–well, you are rather substantial,” she whispered the last word.  “I don’t think ever before‑‑well‑‑I’ve not been made love to like that‑‑so long‑‑so hard,” she stuttered awkwardly, her face still confused.

He believed her, and chuckled.  “Ah, but really, you were a virgin to me.  You’ve never been made love to by a real man before,” he surmised.  She grimaced slightly, taking his egotistical remark as a slight against American men.

“Well, not exactly like that,” she conceded.  Admittedly, the sex had been great, but perhaps a bit too rough, she thought, feeling very sore and bruised now.  She looked over her shoulder and gasped to see the reddened hand marks on the pink skin of her buttocks.

“Hamir, you hit me hard,” she said indignantly now as her knees drew back together, and she gingerly touched the marks on her.  He looked at her marked buttocks and shrugged his shoulders.

“You struck me,” he replied, making it sound unthinkable.

I struck you?  I was just trying to get your attention!  I barely touched you.  I couldn’t get you to explain to me what was bothering you.  You were being boorish!” she said defensively, growing a little irate at his nonchalant attitude.  Last night there had been too many sensations to really ponder on one in particular.  Yes, she enjoyed him immensely, but this had to be addressed.  He looked at her long.

“Women never hit men,” he stated simply.  Teri drew herself up and arched her eyebrows.

“But men can hit women?” she replied sarcastically, yet was stunned by his simple answer.

“Yes, when it is necessary.  It often is.  You shouldn’t make such an issue of it.”

“Well, Your Highness, perhaps this is true in Oman, but American women won’t buy that!  Actually, no one should strike anyone, but that applies even more for men striking women‑‑men are stronger‑‑they can injure‑‑it’s just not done!  I wasn’t hurting you.  I don’t see any marks on you like you left on me!”  She self-consciously grabbed a pillow and held it in front of her now.  She was growing increasingly irritated at his chauvinistic attitude.  That was the problem with these gallant ones.  They knew romance and high manners, but treated women like inferiors, or pets responding to their masters.

“That is not the point, Theresa.  Women may not do that.”

“Oooo!” she exclaimed and turned away from him.  Hamir painfully refrained from turning her around and berating her for her insolent and inexcusable behavior, but reminded himself she was American.  That was the problem with these American women.  Oh, they were very good in bed and their shocking lack of inhibitions intrigued him, in a very un‑Omani way.  Strangely enough, they even seemed “purer” in a perverted sense‑‑especially the blond, blue‑eyed, fair‑skinned women like Theresa.  And so delicate and vulnerable‑‑less plump than most Omani women were.  But their insolence– he could not bring himself to accept.  They did not recognize the superiority of the male race, as their Muslim sisters did.

“Theresa, I regret that there are marks on you, but I assure you they will go away soon,” he said magnanimously.  “I only slapped your buttocks a few times, really nothing.”   She rolled her eyes and laughed ironically, still clutching the pillow in front of her, feeling incredibly stupid.  He couldn’t even apologize for doing that to her, and although no other man had done this to her as an adult, here it was again—the bad guy, always the bad guy.

“Theresa, it is difficult to explain.  I think you are knowledgeable enough to understand the cultural differences, especially between men and women.  Here, it seems that women are now raised to believe they can be equal to men in every way.  Omani women are much different, more traditional.  They accept the superiority of a man, and they willingly defer to the stronger sex.  Even though it is our law, I daresay they also see it much to their advantage to do so.  It isn’t so bad!”

Theresa turned and glared at him, trying not to be culturally ignorant, but her woman’s heart wanted to scream at his boorishness.  Think, think!  she kept saying to herself.  Yes, American women are raised that way, to believe what was true.  But he was also raised to believe the opposite, as wrong as it was.

She shook her head, holding back the scathing remarks.  She was not a flamboyant, card carrying feminist, yet this was too much for her to accept.

She suddenly felt extremely silly next to him, naked, trying to act like a diplomat, holding in her cultural remarks, trying not to insult.

“Hamir, it is difficult to accept because it is impossible‑‑no‑‑difficult, very difficult to understand how you can think this way, after being more educated then most of your fellow countrymen.  I could argue endlessly with you on the equality of the sexes, but I doubt seriously you’d listen, much less accept any of it, because it serves you well not to accept it.  So, there’s no sense in trying to make you understand.  You only need to know that in my culture, it is unacceptable for a man to strike a woman.  You cannot do that here,” she stated firmly.

He looked at her long, realizing how damned American she was.  “Theresa, please, let us not discuss this further.  You have made your point.”  Her eyebrows arched to hear him admit defeat so easily.  “We would never arrive at an agreement, so why not turn to more pleasant things?” he said sweetly, almost sickening himself with his condescending tone. He tried to push aside the discord, because what he wanted more than being right, was possessing her body again. “…More pleasant things, like where my fingers had just found a place deep inside you, that you liked very much…” he murmured, as his fingers entered her and coaxed her knees apart again.

She winced a little.

“Hamir… I’m really sore…” she said hesitantly, still amazed at how she really liked his fingers there.  He smiled and nuzzled his nose into her hair.

“You’ve never been sore here before?” he twisted his fingers within her.

“No,” she frowned a little, gasping as she involuntarily lifted her hips to meet his hand.

“Good.  I like that you are sore, it will remind you that I’ve been there…the pleasure I’ve given you,” he whispered as his fingers stroked a spot inside that melted the rawness away with the amazing, spiraling sensations of pleasure.

She smiled wanly, not able to shake off the discomfort of being regarded as inferior by him.  She didn’t want to admit his overpowering way could be exciting, that she also liked to feel a little helpless in the arms of a strong man‑‑when she wanted to, and when he wasn’t trying to gain control for the sake of control… as he once again gained total control over her body.  She climaxed thunderously, panting, and not being able to control her desire to want more.  It was an unusual feeling, being so needy, one she had experienced only once with a man before.  Other than her Greek, normally her lovers merely screwed, usually once, quickly, and then it was over until the next time. She was always in control of her feelings, her body, although often with the frustration of experiencing relatively little pleasure in a man’s arms.  Still, she found them very easy to please and control.  But this man was different.

He caressed her face gently, as if through his fingertips he’d reach her confused thoughts.  His beautiful brown eyes gazed sincerely into hers.  “Theresa, you utterly fascinate me.   I must get to know you better…” Hamir began with a strange passion in his voice that even confused him.  Teri’s stomach was aflutter at his words.  “I will strive to put aside my cultural differences with you.  Please help me.” His plea for help completely pierced her heart, and she sighed.

Soon they were lost in a passionate kiss, their mouths hungry, their bodies pressed closely, their hands stroking each other, and she felt his hard, insistent desire.  She enjoyed the closeness and caressing more, but reluctantly allowed him to enter her despite the pain of her abused body.  Yet another strange new sensation for her, to feel bruised, sore, raw, while making love.  But the pain was slowly washed away by eventual pleasure, even though she wished he could be more gentle as he drove away brutally at her.  She couldn’t understand her conflicting emotions over his near total control of her body.  His hand came down suddenly and sharply on her flank, but before she could decide whether it was a slap or grasp of passion, she found herself undone again.  She peaked easily, but not with the complete fullness of true passion, as her brain tried to make sense of this man.  She weakened easily under his thrusts, and was growing limper with exhaustion.  She marveled at how long he could go on, and how her body still responded with carnal need despite her errant thoughts.

At long last, to her relief, he stilled and released.

“By Allah, Theresa, your body!  Your body is amazing…” he breathed as he collapsed onto her with yet another firm smack of his open palm, not at all an unwelcome sensation, she was surprised to realize.  It was actually kind of hot.

She had had definite sexual fulfillment, yet suddenly it seemed empty.  Unconsciously, her loathing towards him and his dominating ways was growing within her, and was only elevated by his total control over her, taking his pleasure of her in his way, using her body, not caring to ask how she felt about it.

Above all, she hated the betrayal of her own body.  His sincere-sounding words only moments earlier rang hollow now.  What an idiot she was.  Why did she do things like this?  She knew it was a mistake to sleep with him.  She closed her eyes and felt overwhelmingly embarrassed over what anyone at State would think of her now.

Realizing her mistake in allowing him to seduce her, she sighed heavily as he rolled off her and lay back on the bed next to her.  He took it for total contentment, instead of frustration.

“Now, you see, you must admit men are superior in this category, giving a woman what she needs!” he chuckled.  She opened her eyes quickly and looked into his to see if he was joking, and knew right away he was serious.  Gone too were the soft pleading eyes.  All she saw now was triumph over his total conquest of her body and her will, and she immediately felt duped, and foolish—and furious.  The floodgates of her tortured thoughts suddenly burst wide open with an unbridled fury.

“You are a pig,” she said angrily as she sat up quickly, left the bed and grabbed her robe.  “A damned, chauvinistic pig.  You think I needed you?  You, who ordered me to be your ‘date?’  What, are you too cheap for an escort service, Prince, to pay to screw a woman?  You damn well do know better, you’ve lived in Europe, here.  You can’t get away with this, there’s no excuse.  You just think you are so great because you grunt and sweat over a woman’s body like a common dog in heat‑‑the dog is a better creature.”

His eyes widened in disbelief.  She continued, growing more angry as she thought with the greater clarity of daylight of the events that had brought her to where she was now.  Essentially, she had been asked to be a call girl for the U.S. Government, and it assaulted her dignity to even believe she went along with it, that they knew she’d do it.

“Get the hell out of my home, and don’t you ever dare try to see me again, or think you can use your position or power to enjoy my company.  I regret the day I went to that damned reception.  Do you hear me, never again, ‘Prince Repulsive!’ You are disgusting.” She edged her voice with sharp sarcasm.  “Yes, you fucked me, congratulations, and I hope you’ll enjoy jerking off over your little fantasy about what a macho stud you were, the American ‘pussy’ your scored, because you threw your diplomatic weight around,” she mockingly gestured a man masturbating.  “Because I want nothing more to do with you, I want to forget I ever met you, much less wasted this time getting fucked by you.”  She was nearly screaming now, her voice trembling with anger as the past 24 hours tortured her mind.  He began to rise, yet was so shocked, he could do nothing but stare at this unbelievable woman.  Aside from the pornographic films his college friends dragged him to in London from time to time, he had never before head a woman speak such vulgarities live, much less to him!  How dare she speak so!

How dare she turn him on so!

“I repeat,  I never want to lay eyes on you again,” she lied in part.  As he stood there before her in his full, magnificent nakedness, she could feel the betraying stirrings deep within her.  She shuddered and plucked up her resolve again.  “And get this, you can’t do anything about it, ‘Your Royal Nothingness’.  Oman?  What is that, some two-bit, flea-bag toy country that happens to have one strategic advantage the U.S. cares about?  That’s your claim to fame, isn’t it?  No wonder you are so ignorant.  I don’t give a damn if I lose my job, I will not be degraded by a poor excuse for a man like you!  Get out of here, now!” she screamed.

He advanced towards her menacingly, not knowing what he would do.  If she wasn’t American, he knew exactly what he’d do, and she’d be begging for mercy at his feet.

She read the cruel, carnal revenge in his face, and her eyes grew fearful at his expression.  She had forgotten she wasn’t dealing with just any ordinary man.  As he stepped forward to grab her, she slapped him hard, turned and fled to the bathroom, and locked the door.  She jumped as his fist hit the door.  She had never seen such anger in a man in her life, and she now trembled as her palm stung with the forceful slap she’d just delivered across his unbelieving face.

She listened for a while, and when she heard him back in the bedroom, obviously dressing and far enough away, dashed out to the living room and grabbed the phone, pulling it back into the bathroom.

“Theresa!” he growled menacingly when she emerged.  She just ran frantically behind the tenuous safety of the locked door.

He didn’t trust himself now, the blood throbbing in his temples.  Oh, what he could to her to punish her brazenness!  He finished dressing and looked around the sunlit bedroom to see if he’d left anything.  His eyes went to the blood and sex-stained sheet from the bed.  He tore it from the mattress, and rolled it into a small ball inside a pillowcase.

“I swear, if you are not gone in five minutes, I’m calling the police,” she threatened.  His blood boiled at her empty, senseless threat.  He wondered if he could refrain from‑‑

“Get out!” she cried out again.  He detected the fear in her voice.  This was good, but it didn’t appease him enough.

He donned his coat, smoothed his hair, and walked to the bathroom door.  “Theresa‑‑I wish to call my car.  Come out now,” he ordered sternly.

“No! Just leave!  There is a metro only 5 blocks away,” she replied.

He ground his jaw, took a deep breath, and then suddenly kicked the door open.

Looking into his enraged eyes, she was too frightened to scream or even move.  Tears coursed down her flushed face, and her full red lips whispered the plea, “Please leave!”

He shot a piercing look into her blue eyes.  Even amid his fury, and her fright, she was gorgeous, and he knew he had to have her as his.  But for now, she needed to be punished, put in her place.  He grabbed the long telephone cord at his feet, stretched it threateningly between his hands.

“Oh, God, please, oh please leave,” she cried frantically, her heart racing.  His eyes grew meanly amused at her cowering.  He ripped the cord from the wall, and snapped it like a whip at her feet.

“Hamir, don’t do things you’ll regret‑‑everyone knows you are with me,” she reminded him with a trembling voice, hoping it would bring some sense to his actions.  He smiled a wicked smile, as he suddenly stepped forward, and his hand whipped out.  He reached through her robe and grabbed her brutally between her legs with one hand, and yanked her head back with a handful of her long blond hair, pulling her body next to his.  She gasped in pain and terror.  She bit her lip, trying to fight the tears back.  He put his face close to hers and his voice grew evil.

“You know, I could sodomize you now‑‑” she shook her head violently, as she felt his fingers creep towards that part of her and press insistently.  “You wouldn’t like that, I can see it in your face.  And if you think I struck you too hard before, you haven’t even begun to know what I am capable of.  I could do many unpleasant things to you now, to teach you respect, and I’d regret nothing, my dear.  Surely you’ve heard of diplomatic immunity?” he sneered, his face inches from hers.  Her eyes registered terror as she looked into his dark, angry eyes, realizing he could do just about anything he wanted to her, with little fear of the law.  She cried bitterly, as her body grew limp at his mental and physical abuses.

“Please!” she whimpered pitifully, and he suddenly couldn’t stand her begging and tears any longer.  He wasn’t sure whether it was her sobbing, or he didn’t like what he was doing to her.  He gazed at her full, quivering lips, and covered her mouth with a brutal, grinding kiss, as his hands frantically and roughly squeezed and stroked her body, her breasts, pulling the robe away from her body.  She closed her eyes tightly as she cried into his mouth and trembled violently, awaiting the impending rape.  But no one would see it as rape; she had just spent the last night making love to him.

Suddenly, he loosened his grip, and she opened her eyes long enough to see tears in his, as he pushed her away and walked out the door of her apartment, muttering something.

It took her a moment to realize what had happened, that she had been that close to being violated, and he couldn’t bring himself to do it.  She rushed to lock the door behind him, but didn’t feel much safer, considering what he had done to the other door.  She sobbed loudly, looking down at her hands and suddenly noticed the ring he’d given her.  She tried to pull it off of her finger, thinking to throw it after him.  It wouldn’t budge, and she cried even harder as she struggled to remove any reminder of him.  All she could do was sink weakly to a chair and cry bitterly.

As he walked away from her apartment, he fumed silently about how he’d have her fired.  How dare she speak to him so!  Yes, get her fired, that would show her… He would show her just how far his power extended!   He thrust his hand deep into his pocket and felt her class ring.  He took it out and in his rage, almost threw it into a nearby highway.  Suddenly his hand clasped around it firmly.  The scent of her, of roses, lingered on his hands, along with her unique, musky scent of sex, and his heart raced at the thoughts of having her in his arms.  Firing her would not bring back that scent; it would not bring her back to his loins.  No, there was a better solution than having her fired.

He glanced over his shoulder, unaccustomed to this vulnerable feeling as he awkwardly held the bed linens under his arm, attired in formal wear on a business morning.  He gratefully saw a cab coming his way and hailed it, giving the address of the Omani Embassy.

Yes… there would be better ways of dealing with Miss Theresa Brown he thought as he fingered the bed sheet.

Several times she walked to the phone, only to remember the cord had been torn from the wall by Hamir.  And indeed, who would she call anyway?  The police?  Oh yes, that would be perfect, what could she say?  He was in her apartment by her invitation, even though the Secretary of State had pushed her into this whole thing.  Regardless, he would have full diplomatic immunity.  Only her name would be dragged through any inquiries or press and her career ruined.  She still trembled at the thought of how helpless she was to do anything.

When she finally could stop trembling enough to move, she took a long, hot shower.  She tried to soap her finger to slide the ring off, but as easily as it had been slipped onto her finger the night before, it would now not slip off.  Her senses were incredibly befuddled, and it made her head hurt to try to understand what she was feeling.  She sat for hours replaying the last 24 hours in her head, crying every so often, then dry‑eyed and analytical.  She tried to straighten the apartment a little.  She shook her head in disbelief at the blood stains on the quilt and involuntarily felt her belly clench with a bizarre mixture of desire and pain at the thought of him first tearing into her.  Who knew that with pain could come so much unbelievable pleasure?  When she forced herself to strip the bed linens to send off to the cleaner, she was full of strange memories of him.  She didn’t even notice the missing bottom sheet, her brain was too cluttered to care or worry.

Later in the afternoon she pushed herself to leave the apartment and search for the resident handyman.

“Bob, could you please look at my bathroom door?  It needs to be fixed.”

“Sure Miss, I’ll fix it today,” he replied.

“Thanks,” she said and got into her car.  She bought a new telephone cord, and drove around a bit to just feel in control again.

When she returned to the apartment, not only was Bob there, but the land lady as well.

“Mrs. Hart, is there anything‑‑uh‑‑wrong?” Teri tried to sound innocently bewildered.

“Miss Brown, I don’t like trouble, you know that,” the sour old woman began.  “That door was forced in, it didn’t just break, and you are going to pay for it!”   Teri gulped.  She glanced nervously at Bob, who busily worked on the door, which in addition to being knocked off its hinges, had splintered as well.  She shuddered at the memory of his enraged face, and then his look of regret as he spared her.  She had to think of something, quick.  She pulled the landlady aside.

“Mrs. Hart, I have to tell you something very confidential,” she whispered, pausing dramatically.  The landlady wet her lips in anticipation.  “You know my work sometimes involves ‘meeting’ with foreigners?  Well, I was asked to escort a foreign dignitary to a reception last night,” she paused, partly making it up as she went along.

“Yes, yes‑‑someone did see a big black limousine here last night with diplomatic plates,” Mrs. Hart whispered back, not missing her afternoon soap opera so much now.

“Well, the Prince,”

“Prince?” Mrs. Hart’s eyes widened.  Teri bit her lip.  How stupid, she hadn’t meant to make it that clear.  How many princes were in town these days?

“Uh, yes‑‑well, when he brought me home, I had to be diplomatic, and ask him in for coffee.  Well, he got a bit fresh, too forward‑‑uh‑‑you know how those foreigners are,” Teri managed to sound convincingly naive.

“Oh, yes,” the woman agreed, urging her to continue

“Well‑‑when he went too far‑‑you know‑‑ I got mad and a little afraid and locked myself into the bathroom, and well, he kicked the door in.  I guess he was a little drunk,” Teri said, sighing.  The woman stood panting for more details.

“And?” she prompted eagerly.

“Well, that’s really it, I suppose when he realized what he had done, he just left.

“Oh,” the landlady replied flatly, obviously disappointed.  “Well, you’ll still have to pay for the door,” she said.

“Yes, of course Mrs. Hart.  Send me the bill and I’ll get a check to you,” Teri sighed.

Had she really said she wanted more excitement in her life?


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© 2013 by MB Allyn. All rights reserved


Chapter One

Theresa Brown rushed onto the shuttle bus, panting for air. She grabbed the first available seat and tried to catch her breath after that mad dash. Why couldn’t she be like normal people? Wake up with the birds, enjoy a long eye opening shower, sit down to a nice little breakfast in a robe and slippers, read the morning paper, carefully dress, do her hair and make up and stroll out the door to watch the bus roll up to her? She saw the back end of a bus most of the time, and if she was lucky, caught up to it. Ah, the struggle of morning for a night owl.

She groaned as she saw the traffic jam before them on Memorial Bridge, wending its way into the nation’s capital. She glanced around, afraid to see fellow employees witnessing her harried entry to the bus. She was sure she looked like she had just crawled from under a log hastily brushed hair and a smear of blush across her cheeks, her dark fringy lashes spiky from her quick douse in the shower. What she refused to believe was that any glances her way were in admiration for her fresh and uncomplicated beauty.

Omani12Teri rushed through the D Street entrance of the State Department, flashing her identification badge to a frowning guard. She tapped her foot impatiently as she waited for the elevator, then slinked into her office, breathing a sigh of relief that the place was momentarily deserted. She sat down in her squeaky government-issue chair, grabbed the folder of morning cables, and tried to look busy.

In the evening, the bus home was overcrowded and stuffy. Teri tuned into the usual strain of conversations on the State Department shuttle that ran back and forth across the Potomac between the official Foggy Bottom building of the Main State Department and the State Annex offices in Rosslyn, near her Arlington apartment. She eavesdropped enviously on the prattle around her.

“George! Hey! How are you doing?”
“Chuck! Great to see you!! Last time was in New Delhi! What have you been up to?”
“I’m on the Country Desk now, rotating out to Bangkok next month. How is Cairo?”
“Pretty good. We’re here on home leave now.”
“And the family?”
“Ah, just great. The kids love it, little Andy is speaking Arabic like a native…”
“..Louise, how can you sit there and say your tour in Peru was a bore? Aren’t the Inca ruins fabulous? Machu Pichu…”
“…I’ll tell you what, Manila may be hotter than DC at this time of year, but not by much. At least we’ve got gorgeous beaches and scuba diving to take our minds off it in the Philippines…”
“…And then, the Aga Khan took one look at her…”

Teri sighed as she thought of the piles of papers and stacks of books on her desk, and then Bangkok, Cairo, Manila… would she ever be winging off to these fantastic places? Her bed wouldn’t hold so much attraction in the mornings in Thailand or Egypt. Aside from a Junior year in Paris, and an intense and whirlwind romance there with a handsome Greek that ended with bittersweet memories, she had few stamps in her Passport with which to begin an intriguing conversation, much less a memorable adventure. Why didn’t the glamorous life belong to her? Would such story book things ever be hers to recount?

The office secretary strolled by the door of Teri’s office.
“Do you want to go to a White House welcoming reception for the Sultan of Oman?”
Teri giggled. The Sultan of Oman indeed! She wasn’t even quite sure where Oman was on the globe. But then she fingered the papers on her littered desk and glanced at the drab walls of her cramped office.
“When?” she asked.Omani11
“Friday morning at ten.”
Teri pursed her lips and then grinned.
“Yea, OK,” Teri said and jotted it on her Government issue desk calendar, and turned back to the endless stacks of bureaucratic paper.

The few times Teri had ever been in or about the White House, a thrill always ran through her. She didn’t know what it was exactly. Perhaps the possibility of seeing the President pass by again, with a wink, as he had once before. She had been as giddy as a teenager for weeks after that chance “meeting” in the West Wing ground floor as the President whizzed by with his entourage, on the way to the barber. Or perhaps it was because this was the seat of the most powerful nation in the world. She needed to remind herself how lucky she really was to be here, to have a job.

She passed through the reception line, little caring about the Sultan of Oman, but glancing around to catch any famous faces: some she knew from State, some from the press, others glimpsed at from afar in official functions. One never knew who you might be able to schmooze or meet at these gatherings; networking was the official sport of young aspiring professionals in D.C., and a close second was meeting cute administration guys. She knew, however, that this reception had been short of bodies on this Friday before Easter, and that was the only reason she and several other fellow-underlings from State had been invited to welcome the leader of an obscure little middle eastern country that never figured on anyone’s radar screen. She had just looked it up that morning in the atlas in case someone actually asked her anything about it.
The first hand took hers and gazed at her name tag, as she was passed down the line of dignitaries and introduced to each, names meaning little except for the Secretary of State and some Senior White House officials. She clasped each hand with a firm grip, for which she had often been complimented. She was no jelly fish, woman or not, and knew that a handshake was a lasting impression. She smiled warmly at each face and clearly repeated her name “Theresa Brown. So good to meet you…My pleasure…”

As she approached the dignitaries from Oman, swarthy faces and dark reptilian eyes set her flesh crawling, and cast her thoughts back to Paris school days, and the masses of Middle Easterners celebrating freedom from strict Islamic social mores by pursuing every and any woman, and particularly the blondes like Teri. They had repulsed her then, and still sent a chill down her spine. Womanizers.

“Theresa Brown, His Excellency the Sultan of Oman” was announced. The older turbaned man nodded his head gravely, and she was taken aback to see an obviously lewd glint in his dark rimmed eyes as he took her hand and let his eyes sweep over her body freely. She frowned a little, and purposely gave his an extra hard squeeze, intended to be a reproach to his womanizing. But nothing showed in the mask like face except for the same lascivious glare. She moved down the line, trying to hide the small scowl in her eyes. Although he probably didn’t notice, she was purposely more solicitous to the next in line.

“Crown Prince Hamir, successor to the throne of Oman,” was announced to her. She looked up into the handsome young man’s face, not more than 10 years older than hers. She blinked and tried not to gape. The man was beautiful. He had an air of certainty and assuredness rare in one so young. She smiled warmly and replied very cordially “So wonderful to make your acquaintance, Your Majesty.” The Prince looked deeply into her eyes, his own deep set dark eyes partly amused, having noticed her reaction to his father. He lifted her hand and kissed it not so lightly, pressing her fingers into his full beard.

“The pleasure is all mine, dear lady.” He’d taken note of her name, and he wouldn’t forget.
Theresa withdrew her hand quickly as she felt her face go slightly pink. She hurried on down the line, sure that she had just held everyone up at that last encounter, and that the whole room was staring at her. But then she noticed that he was kissing the other ladies’ hands too.

She wandered over to the refreshment table, and stood with a few other aspiring young diplomats from the State Department. But she felt a strange pull. She slowly turned to see the Prince gazing at her intensely with those beautiful, liquid eyes. She determined to meet his stare with a bravado she didn’t feel, but when their eyes locked, he allowed a slight smile curve up the corners of his sensuous mouth, as he inclined his head familiarly. He slowly raised his glass of juice from across the room to her, as if toasting her. A tremor ran through her body like an electric current, down to the base of her belly, and she nervously looked away and fidgeted. What was that? And why was she feeling so tense? At least he wasn’t as repulsive as the others in his entourage. His skin had a bronzed glow with softer features, chiseled features and high cheekbones, actually very handsome if she thought about it. His full lips were formed in an engaging smile behind which showed perfect white teeth. His deeply set almond eyes sported long dark lashes, and seemed to always be smiling ever so slightly, like he knew a wonderful secret. She glimpsed his way again, and her heart started to race to see him resolutely making his way towards her through the crowd, only to be headed off by a pair of flirting women.
She calmed down a bit, confused over her mixed feelings of relief and disappointment. She turned and went to another more obscure area of the reception room, buried herself in the crowd, and avoided him for the rest of the reception.

Later that afternoon Teri sat back at her desk, deep in thought as she gazed out her window to the roof-top air conditioning units of the State Department. Why had she felt so panicky about the Prince, yet so intrigued? Why, she’d never see him again! Her thoughts were interrupted by the intercom. She picked it up.
“Call for you on 3,” The Secretary said. Teri pushed in the button for line 3, and spoke in her professional tone.
“This is Theresa Brown, may I help you?”
“Miss Brown,” an accented voice said on the other end of the line. She froze momentarily. “This is Hamir. We met this morning.” Her heart jumped into her throat, and there was a long pause as she tried to find her strong voice.
“Yes, I believe I remember you, Your Majesty,” she responded uneasily. “What may I help you with?”
“You may be so gracious as to accompany me to dinner this evening.”
Although Teri was surprised at the invitation, she didn’t let him know this. His question was more a command than a request. He was awfully self sure.
“I am afraid that is not possible Your Majesty” she managed to reply coolly, as if she routinely turned down dates from Princes. She wondered to herself why she declined so hastily and why he was even asking her. But something in her brain nudged at her to stay clear of this one.
“Ah, you are previously engaged?”
“Uh Yes,” she lied, realizing he knew very well she was lying, and felt very childish at being caught.
“What a pity. Well then, perhaps another evening, Miss Brown?”
“Well, I don’t… ” she was interrupted.
“I look forward to it most eagerly!” And the line went dead. He hadn’t even given her a chance to say no! The creep! What the hell was that?

“Hey there, that was some reception, huh?” a soft-spoken male voice intoned from her office doorway as she stared at the phone.
“Huh?” Teri looked up from her distraction over the call and saw Jim, a tall, gentle-natured colleague who seemed to be dropping by more frequently of late.
“Did you enjoy the White House reception? He asked again, in his normal reserved manner. He now felt like he had interrupted her, and was feeling awkward. She sensed this, and tried to shake off her pique over the phone call from the Prince.
“Oh, that,” she feigned amnesia over the very thing she couldn’t get out of her thoughts. “Well, not much different from any other, I guess,” she replied dismissively and with a bored tone.
“Well, I guess if you’ve seen one White House recpetion, you’ve seen them all,” Jim replied uneasily. There was an awkward silence between them, as if he wanted to say something else, but was cowed by the impatience on her face.
She felt badly. She knew she was giving him the brush-off, and he didn’t deserve it. He was a really nice guy, pretty good looking, and it was abundantly clear he liked her.

That was the trouble. The nice guys just didn’t seem exciting, there was no challenge, they didn’t stir her blood, never put her on edge like the “bad boys” did. And what had it gotten her? A string of cheating boyfriends, broken relationships, and heartaches. She had resolved after the last disaster to swear off men for a while, concentrate on her career. But now sweet-faced Jim stood there, and just as she was about to change her tone and demeanor, Jim lost his nerve, again.

“Well, I’m sure you are busy, I’ll catch you another time,” he said hurriedly.
“Jim…” Teri started, now feeling like a first class bitch for acting so flippant. He turned with a face that was hopeful, yet injured by her usual brusque treatment of his attempts at small talk. “I am kind of preoccupied now, sorry to sound so-so—well, we’ll chat later, OK?”
“Sure, see you around,” he said as he left quickly.
Teri put her head in her hands. Why couldn’t she like the guy? He was too nice!

As if echoing her thoughts, a friend of hers stepped into her office.
“Honey, what is with you?” Melissa whispered harshly while looking out the main office door.
“What now?” Teri groaned. This morning was getting to be too much.
“Jim Colton, perhaps the nicest and most eligible bachelor on the floor, not to mention good looking, LIKES you, if you hadn’t noticed. And you just shoo him away like he’s a pesky fly!”
“Oh, Melissa, stop it! I don’t need this lecture now! Besides, how do you know I shoo him away?”
“I heard it all from outside your door, Teri. What is your problem? Are you waiting for another creep like Dimitri, or Richard, or…”
“Stop!” Teri cried. She shook her head. “You know I don’t want any more heartache. That’s probably why I don’t even want to start anything right now, don’t you understand?” Give me credit already for turning a playboy prince down, she wanted to shout. Melissa just shook her head.
“No, I don’t understand. Fate is kind enough to deliver a true gentleman to your doorstep, all you have to do is smile and let him treat you nicely, but no! You’d rather wait for a bad boy to wine you, dine you, romance you and then jilt you and hurt you. I give up on you. Just throw all the nice guys my way, OK?” she said, as she left Teri’s office.
Teri could only sigh. What was her problem?

Later that evening she could not expel the Prince from her mind. For some reason, she couldn’t stay at home for fear of what? Being caught in a lie? It would be the best thing, for the Prince to somehow know that she had lied because she wanted no part of him.
Nevertheless, she went out to her car to just get out and escape her troubled musings. She thought she heard footsteps in the parking lot and turned in the darkness to look, and saw nothing. Jeez, now she was paranoid? When she reached the car, she fumbled nervously with the door key, and hastily slipped in the car, locking the door behind her.
As she drove off, she calmed down only a little, but realized now that she had to go somewhere. She showed up at the group house her best friend lived in, although she really didn’t care to be there, especially after seeing the cars parked outside the house. Teri groaned, but knocked at the door through which loud music blasted. A chill ran through her, despite the balmy night air. She glanced down the street to see a dark, long car paused at the corner of the next street, but then it drove off. What was a car like that doing in this neighborhood? She frowned at her jittery reactions, and let herself into the house.
“Teri! Hey! How ya doin?” a bleary eyed Annette said. Teri smiled wanly at the head of the household. How could they take this constant partying night after night? She spotted her best friend Deborah and her eyes grew sad. Hadn’t high school and college been enough to quench the partying thirst she thought?
“Teri! Sit down here!” Deborah slurred upon seeing her life long friend.
Teri shook her jacket off and sat on the couch next to Deb.
“How ya doin?” she asked, her eyes heavy with booze and pot.
“OK, OK…” Teri answered, conscious of the rest of the crowd’s attention on her now.
“Hey, how’s life at the White House?” Long haired, bearded Alex sneered. She looked contemptuously at the tangled unkempt beard, the earring in his ear, the grubby clothes, complete with chain attached to his wallet. She wondered if he ever changed clothes, he was always wearing the same thing. He couldn’t possibly drag a comb through the matted mess that went beyond his shoulders.
“I don’t work at the White House, Alex, I work at the State Department,” she explained impatiently for the millionth time.
“Oh, Okey dokey,” he laughed drunkenly.
Teri turned her attention back to Deb.
“You’ll never guess what happened today.”
“Hmmm?” Deborah replied as she squinted her already half closed eyes and dragged heavily on the joint passed to her. Teri sat back on the couch, letting the joint pass her, not wanting to even touch it. Deborah had already forgotten her. She spoke anyway, having to get it off her chest.
“I went to a White House reception for the Sultan of Oman.”
“What’s that?” Deb asked, trying really hard to focus.
“Oh, Deb, it’s like a King, of the country of Oman,” Teri replied impatiently. She really did need a new set of friends.
“Oman?” she repeated “Is that like in South America?”
“No, it’s in the middle east,” she replied tersely, acting like she hadn’t just looked it up in the atlas that day herself.
“Oh,” Deborah replied and gulped down a swallow of beer.
“Anyway,” Teri continued “his son was there, he’s a prince, the heir to the throne… well, I shook his hand in the receiving line, and then he called later to tell me I was going out to dinner with him! I don’t know how the hell he knew where to find me!”
“So?” Deborah asked impatiently.
“Deb, I merely shook the guy’s hand…”
“Well, that’s kinda cool he asked you out…”
“Well, I said no, of course.”
“Why? Isn’t he cute?”
“That’s not the point. He’s a creep, they all are. But now I get the weird feeling I’m being followed.”
“Get outta here Teri! You’re crazy!” Deb laughed.
Teri just sighed, realizing that Deb hadn’t really heard anything she said. She probably was crazy anyway. What would a Prince want of little Theresa Brown?

Later that night, as she was dozing off to sleep, the phone rang. She impulsively picked it up after the second ring.
“Hello?” her sleepy voice answered.
“Miss Brown?” The strong and now familiar accent returned. Her heart raced.
“Uh Cómo? Qué dijiste? No comprendo,” she tried to sound convincingly Hispanic.
“Miss Brown? Is that you?”
“Ah, está equivocado, no hay nadie aqui,” she gasped and hung the phone up quickly. It rang again incessantly. Each shrill ring racked her nerves, until she could stand it no longer and pulled the plug. She didn’t sleep very well the rest of that night, or the rest of the weekend for that matter.

First thing the next Monday, she spoke to her secretary.
“Annie, take messages for all of my calls, I’ll return them later. I’ve got too much to do today.”
“OK,” the secretary replied, looking at Teri oddly.
By 11:00 there where three messages from him. When she returned from lunch, there were two more. She ripped each one up angrily.
At 5:25 she walked out the door to grab the shuttle bus back across the river, the only bus she never seemed to be late for.
A man approached her from a large black Lincoln bearing diplomatic plates.
“Miss Brown, I will take you where ever you need to go,” the chauffeur tipped his hat graciously. She squinted at him.
“Who are you?” she asked, although she knew.
“I am the chauffeur for Prince Hamir. He has instructed me to take you any where you wish.”
“I’ll bet,” she said sarcastically, and turned back to go to the bus.
“But Miss, what shall I tell His Highness?”
“I have nothing to say to him” she threw over her shoulder, but then hesitated. “No,” she turned and looked at the car. “Is he in there?”
“No, Miss, regrettably His Highness has other engagements this afternoon, and couldn’t meet you. He wishes to offer you the services of the car.”
Her eyes registered momentary disbelief. What was going on here? This guy was relentless.
“Well, you tell ‘His Highness’ this: Doesn’t he take a hint? Tell him to bug off get lost! I don’t want him bothering me anymore!” She said vehemently, and turned to catch her bus, leaving the stunned driver standing there.

The next day she called in to the office from home. She couldn’t face another surprise, courtesy of the Prince. It was getting unnerving. No one had ever pursued her so relentlessly, at least no one she would be interested in. But that was the problem. He was exactly the type she would be interested in, the kind she always regretted. He looked very, very bad, and sadly, very, very sexy.
“Annie, tell the boss I’ve got a ton of editing work to do, so I’ll be working at home today. And please, if I get any calls, I don’t want any one to know I’m at home. I really can’t be bothered. I’ll call in for messages.”
“Alright Teri, but you already have two.” Teri was silent and tensed.
“Who?” She finally asked.
“Uh, Mr. Hamir. Both of them. He’s insistent.”
“Throw them away.” Teri ordered.
“But ”
“And throw away any others from him or save yourself the ink, just don’t take them.”
“OK,” Annie replied, hoping for an explanation.
“See you,” Teri hung up. As an after thought, she unplugged the phone. Well, that should finally get the message across to “Mr. Hamir!”

On Wednesday, when she walked into the office, she was tired and jittery. The day of silence from him almost put her more on edge than the attentions.
“Here are your messages, half of what you really got. And the Secretary wants to see you immediately,” Annie said in a somber and awed tone.
“Secretary? What secretary?” Teri asked impatiently.
“OUR Secretary, THE Secretary of State!”
Teri stared at the secretary momentarily, at a loss for words.
“What? Are you sure?” Teri frowned.
“The Secretary’s Office called yesterday afternoon, and wants to see you as soon as you are in this morning”
“Are you sure, Annie? Maybe someone was trying to play a joke,” Teri said, incredulous she’d be called to see the Secretary of State.
“I agree, it was curious, so I mentioned it to the boss. She told me to call and ‘confirm’ a time. I did, and it was to be as soon as you came in this morning, nothing else. I’ll tell you, Rachael is one interested boss, to know why you’re asked to the Secretary’s office. She’s out at a meeting now, but said she wants to see you as soon as you return.”
“Great,” Teri groaned. “I don’t even know where exactly the Secretary’s Office is!
“Top floor. Room 7224. Don’t forget your security pass.”
“Thanks,” Teri intoned flatly.

After passing through the double doors and clearing the heavy security on the seventh floor, she was told to have a seat when she entered the plush office suite of the Secretary of State..
A half hour passed, and she now was growing more annoyed than nervous.
“Excuse me,” she addressed the assistant seated at the reception desk, “Is the Secretary even here?”
“Well, actually, no. But the General’s been informed that you are here, and he’ll return soon,” she referred to the Secretary of State’s former military title.
“Well, actually, I’ve got a lot of work on my desk, why don’t you call me when he’s ready to see me.”
“Oh, no, Miss Brown, you are to stay here and wait for him,” the attractive assistant said firmly. Teri glared at the pompous political appointee, sitting at her huge elaborate desk.
“Do you know the subject of the meeting? Why am I here?” Teri asked.
“Sorry, I really don’t know anything.”
“I’m sure of that,” Teri muttered under her breath and sat down again reluctantly.

Two hours later she was still sitting, and fuming. This had to be some crazy mistake.
“Look, It’s almost lunch time. I’m sure that the Secretary hasn’t eaten yet either, so I’ll be back,” Teri said and stood to walk out.
“Uh, Miss Brown,” the Assistant began, then looked up to see the Secretary walk in.
“Sir! Miss Brown is here.”
“Oh, yes, just a moment,” he said as his entourage followed him into his office like the slavish servants they were, keeping their former general happy. He gave her a quick assessing scrutiny, and disappeared. Teri was beyond surprise now. She had always disliked the man, even though she had never before met him one on one, only in ceremonial reception lines, like the one the other day.
“He’ll be with you in a moment,” the young girl said. “Please sit down.” Teri groaned audibly as she sat down heavily. Her stomach was growling, she was bored and tired.
Finally, she was escorted into the grand inner office, elaborately and tastefully decorated with beautiful oriental carpets, fine paintings and table ornaments. Diplomas, citations, awards and Presidential letters and commissions plastered the walls, and there was perhaps a little too much of a military atmosphere for a Secretary of State.
“Miss Brown, very good of you to see me,” the Secretary said solicitously as he motioned to a chair, a man eager to get a task out of the way quickly and move on to more important affairs of State. Teri refrained from informing him just how long she had waited, wasting taxpayers’ money. She instead nodded in reply.
“Did you enjoy the little reception at the White House the other day? I take it you have a special interest in Oman? Glad you could be there,” he said in an off handed manner. Teri squinted her eyes slightly, beginning to think she knew.
“Well, then, on to the business at hand. It seems as though your presence at a dinner being given tonight for the Omani delegation is desired.”
Teri’s eyes flew open. The Secretary took her reaction for pleasure.
“Yes, yes, it will be very nice. It seems that Prince Hamir had the pleasure of getting to know you at the White House reception, and found you to be very informative and interesting on a number of topics that he finds very stimulating. He has been quite desolate over not being able to reach you personally, though he says he has left many messages,” he left his sentence dangle, as if there would be a reply. Teri remained mute, angry thoughts boiling in her head.
“But then he was quite embarrassed,” the Secretary continued, “thinking that he was being too forward perhaps ”
“Indeed,” Teri interrupted firmly.
” and being ignorant of Washington Protocol, he approached me to request that I transmit his message,” the Secretary said in a perturbed tone. “So, the function is at 8:00 tonight, black tie, and his car will pick you up at 7:30,” he said with finality, signaling that he now wished to move on to his other more important tasks. He turned to his briefing book dismissively, “Until this evening Miss Brown.”
“I’m afraid I can’t make it,” Teri said. The Secretary looked up at her, as if surprised she was still there.
“I beg you pardon?” he said in disbelief.
“I am previously engaged, and furthermore, I do not wish to spend my free time with the Prince,” Teri bravely replied, although she trembled. Stimulating topics indeed! she thought.
“Miss Brown” The Secretary began with the tone of one forcing patience into his voice, with the threat of all patience being gone in a matter of minutes, “I know you are not married, affianced, or even steadily dating anyone at the moment, and I know that you are no shy debutante when it comes to being a man’s escort.” He continued as her eyes registered surprise and indignity at a reference to her personal life, “and even if you were attached in some way, I want you to be there. Surely you can cancel your ‘previous engagement’ tonight for such an important invitation. It would not do for it to be refused,” he stated flatly. Teri was shocked that he was making it quite clear that she had not only crossed the line, but had no choice either. She obviously couldn’t explain her feelings of the pompous Prince to this chauvinistic ass. And what exactly did he know about her personal life? It was a little daunting, almost embarrassing.
“Sir,” she weakly objected.
“Miss Brown,” he leaned over his desk and gazed at her intently, with a fierce General’s stare. “Just who do you think I am? This is not a ‘blind date’ that I am setting up,” he said scornfully. “Surely I do not have to spell this out to you. It is a matter of diplomacy. An important dignitary has made a request, has expressed a desire to seek the company of one of our employees, and unless you meet with a fatal accident between now and then, I expect to see you there, smiling, attentive, and ever the gracious diplomat.” His remarks were nearly a threat.
Teri was tempted to ask “and what if I’m not there, then what?” but she refrained, as she didn’t want to hear the answer. She was silent.
“You need not act as though this is a fate worse than death, Miss Brown, I dare say you should consider it highly complimentary that you are being asked… uh given this assignment, and conduct yourself as a professional, and not a fickle school girl.” Teri’s anger was indescribable, but she felt more and more threatened, like a trapped animal. “I do not have the time to prep you, but it’s simple: engage the Prince in conversation, ask his opinions of their negotiations here, listen to what he has to say, and then report back here for a debriefing on Friday. Our Oman Desk officer will be at the reception if you have any other questions.”
“Debriefing?” Teri questioned.
“Yes, you will debrief myself and the Secretary of Defense, perhaps a few others. Until tonight then, Miss Brown.” He stated in finality and turned to the phone. The conversation was officially over.
Teri stared, speechless. The Secretary of State, the number 5 man in the chain of command for the US Government, was ordering her on a date. Unbelievable.
Teri rose silently and went to the door, wanting to pull it right off of its hinges.
“Oh, and Miss Brown, take the rest of the day off. Rest a little and take time to prepare for tonight. You appear quite edgy,” the Secretary said warningly. Teri grimaced at his transparent attempt to seem like a nice guy, sucked in the scathing remark that burned in her throat, and left.
She grabbed her jacket, shoved some papers from her desk into her briefcase, and swung her purse over her shoulder.
“I’m going home, per orders of the Secretary,” she announced to Rachael, her boss, as she passed by her office.
“What happened? What was that all about?” Rachael asked. Teri closed her eyes tiredly.
“It’s no big deal Rachael, I just have to go to a reception tonight because of a huge mistake I made to show up at a diplomatic reception a few days ago for some piss-ant little country. I’ll be in tomorrow. But this isn’t annual leave,” she said pointedly. “Take it up with Mr. Secretary if there’s a problem with that. Talk to you tomorrow,” Teri shot over her shoulder as she walked out the door.

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© 2013 by MB Allyn. All rights reserved